Highground Bicycle Tour takes to Wisconsin roadways this weekend
For the Hub City Times
NEILLSVILLE – The 35th annual Highground Veterans Memorial Park Bicycle Tour hits highways around the state through Aug. 4.
Executive director Jon Weiler, says the Highground’s biggest fundraiser of the year commemorates the bike ride that Tom Miller took more than 30 years ago to start The Highground.
“In 1984, Tom Miller was trying to raise awareness of the Vietnam veteran issues, so he decided to do a bicycle tour around the State of Wisconsin, 1,244 miles, which is the number of KIAs and ‘Missing in Action’ from Wisconsin in Vietnam,” Weiler explained. “Last year we raised just over $50,000, but the most important thing is to raise awareness of all veterans and their struggles and their sacrifices.”
Bike routes start in all corners of the state and riders range from young teenagers to Vietnam vets in their seventies.
All the cyclists have one thing in common according to Weiler, arriving at The Highground on Sunday. “They start on Friday, they stay somewhere Friday night, Saturday night, and then they roll into The Highground around noon on Sunday afternoon.”
Tom Kingsbury will also be ending his “Heroes Ride” at The Highground on Sunday as part of the bike tour. Kingsbury rode his specialized bicycle 1,600 miles around the entire state to raise awareness of high veteran suicide and PTSD rates.
When the cyclists arrive at The Highground, Weiler said, it’s a real spectacle. “If people are interested in coming here to see that, we try to greet them. We stand in lines on both sides of the road, we hold flags, and we’ll greet them as they enter The Highground.”
Organizers say spectators, volunteers, and other motorists are a big part of the annual ride; helping to feed, house, and safely greet riders as they traverse the state.
For more information, go to https://www.thehighground.us/events/